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Growth of World Population and History of Technology
Old 12-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
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Growth of World Population and History of Technology

Just sharing another cool graph I stumbled on, after reading Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, recommended by other members here - thanks again. The exponential growth of technology, life changes for current generations in the blink of an eye compared to centuries ago. Imagine how fast things will change for generations to come!
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:40 PM   #2
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According to Kurzweil, the graph would end in 2045.

Singularity: Kurzweil on 2045, When Humans, Machines Merge - TIME

Google is a little bit less judgemental in finite prediction, but parallels Kurzweil.

Technological singularity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Opens the door to Singularity... Technological. For free thinkers.. beyond that.

What was eons, became centuries, then decades, and years, then months and days, now hours, and even minutes.

Incremental became exponential and now is infinite.

Knowledge and accomplishment advancing faster than time equals Singularity, a great subject for discussion.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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Abundance is an interesting book. I like to delve into some unabashedly optimistic stuff like that and Kurzweil's books amidst all the doom and gloom we get on a daily basis. I suspect something in between will be our real future - a continuing upward bend with some scary catastrophes along the way.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Abundance is an interesting book. I like to delve into some unabashedly optimistic stuff like that and Kurzweil's books amidst all the doom and gloom we get on a daily basis. I suspect something in between will be our real future - a continuing upward bend with some scary painful catastrophes along the way.
I'm in full agreement except for one word.......
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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Charles Stross has written several fiction novels with the background of the singularity. The concept is stunning.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Abundance is an interesting book. I like to delve into some unabashedly optimistic stuff like that and Kurzweil's books amidst all the doom and gloom we get on a daily basis. I suspect something in between will be our real future - a continuing upward bend with some scary catastrophes along the way.
I agree with your "something in between" assessment though the chapter Risk and Failure plus the lengthy appendix in Abundance acknowledge many of the obstacles and timing issues involved. Hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised, though two steps forward, one step back, and repeat may be more likely...
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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People are linear thinkers. The future is is not.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Just sharing another cool graph I stumbled on, after reading Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, recommended by other members here - thanks again. The exponential growth of technology, life changes for current generations in the blink of an eye compared to centuries ago. Imagine how fast things will change for generations to come!
Wow, that's an amazing graph! The way it's presented it is beyond exponential, it looks more like a rocket taking off. I guess that old saying ( was it Churchill?) may you live in interesting times - was never more true than now.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Wow, that's an amazing graph! The way it's presented it is beyond exponential, it looks more like a rocket taking off. I guess that old saying ( was it Churchill?) may you live in interesting times - was never more true than now.
It is interesting, but how much is cause/effect? I have no idea.

I'm not sure what the '2nd Agricultural Revolution' was, but that looks like a major inflection point. I'd expect germ theory, penicillin, and a few other things to increase population, not sure about some others.

I guess one could also question if 'population' is a good measure of anything. Again, I'm not sure.

Can't recall where I heard it, but just recently someone was going on about how we had huge step increases in the past (telegraph, penicillin), and that we are now seeing only incremental improvements. Not sure I buy that, like others I expect it will be in between somewhere.

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Old 12-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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What was the 2nd agricultural revolution - when they learned to do crop rotation?

That was part of it plus fertilization, consolidating fields, and increasing mechanization of agriculture: The Three Agricultural Revolutions
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:51 PM   #11
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What was the 2nd agricultural revolution - when they learned to do crop rotation?
According to this site : The Three Agricultural Revolutions .....

"The second agricultural revolution coincided with the Industrial Revolution; it was a revolution that would move agriculture beyond subsistence to generate the kinds of surpluses needed to feed thousands of people working in factories instead of in agricultural fields. The second agricultural revolution was composed of a series of innovations, improvements, and techniques in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, and other neighboring countries.
By the 17th and 18th centuries, new crops came into Europe from trade with the Americas, including corn and potatoes. The governments of Europe played a role in spurring on the second agricultural revolution by passing laws such as Great Britainís Enclosure Act that encouraged consolidation of fields into large, single-owner holdings. Farmers increase the size of their farms, piecing together more contiguous parcels of land, fenced in land, and instituted field rotation. Methods of soil preparation, fertilization, crop care, and harvesting improved.
New technologies such as the seed drill enabled farmers to avoid wasting seeds and to easily plant in rows, making it simpler to distinguish weeds from crops. Advances in breeding livestock enabled farmers to develop new breeds that were either strong milk producers or good for beef. By the 1830s, farmers were using new fertilizers on crops and feeding artificial feeds to livestock. Increased agricultural output made it possible to feed much larger urban populations, enabling the growth of a secondary (industrial) economy.
Innovations in machinery that occurred with the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s and early 1900s helped sustain the second agricultural revolution. The railroad helped move agriculture into new regions, such as the United States Great Plains. Geographer John Hudson traced the major role railroads and agriculture played in changing the landscape of that region from open prairie to individual farmsteads. Later, the internal combustible engine made possible the mechanization of machinery and the invention of tractors, combines, and a multitude of large farm equipment. New banking and lending practices helped farmers afford the new equipment."

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Old 12-11-2012, 08:51 PM   #12
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What was the 2nd agricultural revolution - when they learned to do crop rotation?
AP Human Geography: Agriculture Vocab Flashcards

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The first agricultural revolution was the discovery of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent of Asia, 14,000 years ago. The second agricultural revolution was the industrialization of farming in Europe, during the 17th century. The third agricultural revolution was the introduction of genetic engineering into farming, which started worldwide in the late 20th century.
I guess I still don't know what ' industrialization of farming' meant in the 17th century. ....more googling...

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3. The Second Agricultural Revolution

The next method of yield measurement introduces us to the second great agricultural revolution and provides us with a fascinating story that few people even in agriculture are aware of. Like the first revolution, it rests upon a favorable climate and upon two special features - an improved plow and the horse. Together these three, climate, plow, and horse, created a revolution in agriculture that can be compared to the post-World War II agricultural revolution, though it extended over a much longer period. This second revolution took place beginning about 500 or 600 A.D. (Burke, 1978) and is centered upon the Medieval period.
oooops - cross posted with omni550!

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Old 12-11-2012, 10:36 PM   #13
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It is interesting, but how much is cause/effect? I have no idea.

I'm not sure what the '2nd Agricultural Revolution' was, but that looks like a major inflection point. I'd expect germ theory, penicillin, and a few other things to increase population, not sure about some others.

I guess one could also question if 'population' is a good measure of anything. Again, I'm not sure.

Can't recall where I heard it, but just recently someone was going on about how we had huge step increases in the past (telegraph, penicillin), and that we are now seeing only incremental improvements. Not sure I buy that, like others I expect it will be in between somewhere.

-ERD50
I'm not sure the changes I'm seeing as a result of incorporating the internet (via iphones, gps etc) into our daily lives qualify as incremental or not. For the longest time it seemed to me that computer technology was just evolutionary in its impact on daily life. Now I think revolutionary is more like it. Just the fact that we are having this open ended (unless porky man shows up) more or less global communication in almost real time is quite amazing.

I was just reading that many places in Africa and Asia totally bypassed our cooper wire telephone technology and now have incredibly high rates of cell phone usage in what are economically very backward societies. But they won't be backward for long...

As to the straight up population growth line. Birth rates are plummeting almost everywhere. Mexico and Brazil now have a lower birth rate than the US. I would imagine that Africa and the middle East will soon follow and then that straight up population line will do a sharp right turn before starting a slow descent.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:14 AM   #14
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The future creeps in on us. Sometimes we recognize it, sometimes, not.
Cable came into our town in 1980, and removed rooftop antennas in most houses.
In 1988 the Hayes 300baud modem got us into bulletin boards, and soon after, AOL chat rooms, and AOL Mail.

Now, something that is already here, is laying the groundwork for another revolution of sorts. While it may not seem groundbreaking on the surface, a little imagination, some think tank mentality, and we might see ramifications that make this another quantum leap in technology... not just for geeks, but for applications that could lead the way into the next two decades.

Google Fiber

Google Fiber - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Google Fiber will provide symmetrical connectivity at around 1 gigabit per second, which is about 100 times faster access than what most Americans have.
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